Equity Action Plan: A New Route for Teacher Preparation



Krissy Kim, Director of Education Programs
Leesa Thomas, Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education
Angela Blums, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education
Davida Sharpe-Haygood, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education
Sharene Leek, Early Achievers Grant Point of Contact
Leiani Sherwin, Field Experience and Teacher Certification Manager


Pierce College developed a Bachelor of Applied Science in Teaching (BAS-T) degree to provide preparation for teacher certification with endorsements in early childhood education and early childhood special education. This creates a pathway for early learning paraeducators, preschool teachers, and child care providers to use their Associate in Applied Science degree in early childhood education as the foundation for a degree that leads to more job opportunities and higher wages.

During the Early Childhood Education Department’s 2014-2015 self-study, some interesting data was uncovered when comparing education transfer students and early childhood education professional-technical students. The early childhood professional-technical students are much more ethnically diverse than the education transfer students. Students of color are more likely to choose the professional-technical program over the transfer program when they enroll at Pierce College. This difference is even more pronounced when enrollment in key courses for both programs is analyzed.

Enrollment by intent code summer 2012-2015

Code Total Students White Students Students of Color Unknown
(pro-tech ECE)
1192 53.1% 45.5% 1.4%
(education transfer)
1403 67.9% 26.6% 5.5%

*Data from Pierce IR department

Enrollment in key education and early childhood education courses from 2005-2015

  Total Students White Students Students of Color Unknown
EDUC 202 & EDUC 190¹ 788 76.1% 18.9% 4.9%
ECED& 107² 731 59.9% 28.0% 12.0%
ECED 270³ 211 57.8% 38.3% 3.8%

¹ These are the two courses for education students. Some students take both courses.
² This course was chosen as most ECE majors take it in their first or second quarter
³ This course was chosen because it is a capstone student teaching course
*Included in these totals are students enrolled under previous course numbers
*Data from Tableau Dashboards

The teaching field has been tasked with diversifying its workforce to better reflect the population of the students in Washington classrooms. According to the Program Demographics report available on the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) website, over the past five years Central Washington University averaged about 23 percent graduates of color from their teacher preparation program. This is significant because CWU is one of the largest teacher preparation program in Washington State and has a site at Pierce College. The two other programs that offer undergraduate teacher preparation serving residents in Pierce County, Pacific Lutheran University and Saint Martin’s University are graduating 19 percent and 11.5 percent teachers of color respectively. Meanwhile, according to data available at the Washington Report Card website run by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the student body has become increasingly diverse.

Until the start of the BAS-T program, graduates with an AAS were not accepted into any teacher preparation programs in Pierce County unless they complete additional courses to earn a second associate’s degree (an AA-DTA) and meet all program prerequisites. This served as a barrier for diverse AAS graduates to earn teacher certification and access higher paying jobs. The new BAS-T degree addresses this equity obstacle.

The proposed BAS-T program is built on research-based practices and constructivist theory for both young learners and adults. The guiding framework is best summed up in the figure below developed by Cochran, DeRuiter, & King (1993):

bubble map with pedagogical content knowing in the center, interconnected with four other bubbles which are knowledge of pedagogy, knowledge of subject matter, knowledge of students, and knowledge of environmental contexts

Our program builds teacher candidates’ knowledge in each of these four categories so that they can be effective educators.

The program was created collaboratively with several partner school districts. Our partner districts have grown to seven: Clover Park School District, Sumner School District, Steilacoom Historical School District, Puyallup School District, Franklin Pierce School District, Bethel School District, and University Place School District. We have quarterly partnership meetings and work with district to grow our own teachers here in Pierce County. With the residency model, we are co-preparing our teacher candidates with the districts.

Overarching Equity Vision: 

Pierce College intentionally chose to create a blended program that combines outcomes for early childhood general education and early childhood special education to ensure that graduates are prepared to work with each and every child from birth to third grade. Each course will prepare graduates to work with children and families who are culturally, linguistically, and ability diverse. The courses were all given a general ECED prefix to allow for the blending of outcomes to support both the ECE and ECSE endorsement competencies required for teacher certification. Philosophically, this provides graduates with a holistic view of children and ensures that they have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to work in programs serving children representing the diverse population of Pierce County.

The BAS-T degree prepares graduates to work across the spectrum of early childhood education from birth through third grade in a variety of special education and general education programs such as early intervention, Head Start, the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), and primary schools.

The enrollment and graduation rates of our cohorts will mirror the population demographics of Pierce County. We look forward to increasing the diversity of the teaching workforce in our local area, especially in terms of teachers of color, male teachers, and bilingual teachers. All our graduates will be aware of their own identities and how that impacts those they teach and work with. They will be culturally responsive and able to serve each and every student who enters their classroom.

Results from Self-Assessment:

Since we enrolled our first cohort in January 2016, we do not have much data to assess. We plan to monitor our data in the coming years with an equity lens. We will disaggregate our data to ensure that students are enrolling into our program proportional to the population of our service district and that they are succeeding proportionately as well. Looking at the data from our associate degree program, we are underrepresented in enrollment of Latinx, Asian, and male students. All ethnicities/races/genders appear to be completing their degrees proportionate to their enrollment with the exception of multi-racial students and unreported students who are graduating at a slightly lower than expected rates.

Goal 1: All BAS-T students will pass all required state assessments.

Strategy Details Implementer By when?
Strategy 1: Provide WEST-B support. Support materials purchased and available in Tutoring Center and library.

Specific tutors selected and trained to work with potential BAS-T students on these exams.

Support for content and test taking strategies provided.

Facilitated study groups offered.

Sabrina Stevenson (Tutoring Center),
Keith Kirkwood (Writing Center),
Krissy Kim
Dec 2017
Strategy 2: Provide WEST-E and NES support Support materials purchased and available in Tutoring Center and library.

Specific tutors selected and trained to work with potential BAS-T students on these exams.

Support for content and test taking strategies provided.

Facilitated study groups created.

Sabrina Stevenson (Tutoring Center),
Krissy Kim
Dec 2017
Strategy 3: Provide edTPA support. Support materials purchased and available in Tutoring Center and library.

Supplemental instruction provided during winter quarter residency to help students prepare for edTPA.

Facilitated study groups created.

Writing center tutor selected and trained to provide edTPA support.

Sabrina Stevenson (Tutoring Center),
Keith Kirkwood (Writing Center),
Krissy Kim
Mar 2018
Strategy 4: Become a Pearson testing site. Pierce College will become a Pearson testing site so that students can take the exams in a more familiar environment. Christine McMullin (Testing Center Supervisor),
Krissy Kim
Dec 2017
Strategy 5: Secure funding for assessments. The ability to pay or lack thereof will not impact a student’s ability to complete the program and meet the requirements for teacher licensure.

Funding will be sought to offer vouchers for students who have financial need.

A process will be put in place to purchase and award those vouchers by the Field Experience and Teacher Certification Manager.

Nicole Ferris (Foundation), Krissy Kim Dec 2017

Goal 2: BAS-T enrollment and graduation demographics will match that of Pierce County in terms of race/ethnicity and will significantly increase the number of men in the early learning field.

Strategy Details Implementer By when?
Strategy 1: Conduct targeted recruitment of Latinx students to reach at least 15% of BAS-T student body. Marketing materials and website will feature Latinx teachers.

Flyers in Spanish and English will be delivered to local churches, supermarkets, and community organizations that cater to Spanish speakers.

Madelyn Vander Poel (MarCom),
Davida Sharpe-Haygood
15% by June 2019
Strategy 2: Conduct targeted recruitment of Asian students for reach at least 10% of BAS-T student body. Marketing materials and website will feature Asian teachers.

Flyers in will be delivered to local churches, supermarkets, and community organizations that cater to the Asian population.

Madelyn Vander Poel (MarCom), 
Angela Blums
10% by June 2019
Strategy 3: Conduct targeted recruitment of male students to reach at least 25% of BAS-T student body. Marketing materials and website will feature male teachers.

Flyers will be delivered to local schools to distribute to their Watch DOG participants, Head START/ECEAP programs to send to male guardians, and local youth sports programs to give to coaches.

An information session facilitated by men for men will be offered at least once each year.

Madelyn Vander Poel (MarCom),
Greg Brazell,
Leesa Thomas
25% June 2020
Strategy 4: Monitor disaggregated application, enrollment, retention, and completion data. Data will be monitored at least annually and brought to department and PEAB meetings for discussion each fall. If the data identifies gaps, the groups will brainstorm strategies to implement to achieve equity. Krissy Kim Assess each Fall 2017

Goal 3: Increase cultural competency and support identify development of our teacher candidates and faculty/staff.

Strategy Details Implementer By when?
Strategy 1: Implement the Cultural Identity Continuum into coursework. Cultural Identify Continuum will be used throughout the program with formal assessments in ECED& 355, ECED 395, ECED 479, ECED 499 Sharene Leek,
Davida Sharpe-Haygood,
Leesa Thomas
June 2018
Strategy 2: Ensure curriculum is culturally inclusive. Conduct a curriculum assessment for cultural relevancy.

Research materials to incorporate into courses that add different perspectives.

Leesa Thomas,
Angela Blums,
Davida Sharpe-Haygood,
Krissy Kim
Sep 2020
Strategy 3: Create welcoming and inclusive campus environment. Conduct an environmental scan in the department, on printed materials, and on our website to ensure it accurately reflects our community.

Survey students and faculty/staff to determine if they see themselves reflected in the department, on printed materials, and on our website, and also about other aspects of the cultural climate.

Share results at department and PEAB meetings and develop strategies to make the program more inclusive as needed.

Krissy Kim June 2020
Strategy 4: Retain and maintain a diverse faculty and staff as our program grows.  Our current staffing:
  Full-Time Part-Time
People of Color 3 6
White People 4 6
Men 0 5
Women 7 7

Included in this table are all the faculty and staff teaching in our early childhood education program at the associate and bachelor levels. All early childhood professors were included as well as the professors for IBEST, MUSC 205, ART 215, NSCI 300, INTS 300, and ENGL& 102.

As openings arise, work with Human Resources to recruit a diverse applicant pool.

Keep in touch with promising graduates to encourage them to get their master’s degrees and mentor them as they become adjunct professors.

 Krissy Kim Assess each June.

Goal 4: Develop strong partnerships with local school districts.

Strategy Details Implementer By when?
Strategy 1: Work with school districts to recruit their paraeducators into BAS-T program. Attend district education fairs for their employees.

Send district contacts flyers for upcoming information sessions.

Apply for Alternative Route Block Grant to support partnerships and paraeducators.

Leiani Sherwin December 2017 and ongoing
Strategy 2: Backfill early learning and paraeducation openings with AAS graduates. Host an annual job fair for our AAS students at Pierce College and invite local employers. Check with local employers about best time for this. Sharene Leek December 2018
Strategy 3: Work with school districts on identity, diversity, and inclusion at school sites. Incorporate elements of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) into cooperating teacher orientation and training.

Explore at least one EDI topic at each quarterly school district partnership meeting.

Krissy Kim June 2019
Strategy 4: Collaborate with school districts to implement best practices. Field experience supervisors will bring back best practices from the school districts to discuss at our staff meeting and to be incorporated into our coursework.

Field experience supervisors will support school district personnel with the implementation of new best practices from the literature. 

Leesa Thomas,
Davida Sharpe-Haygood,
Angela Blums
June 2019